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The status of women in India has been subject to
many great changes over the past few millennia. In
modern India, women have adorned high offices in
India including that of the President, Prime
minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Leader of
the Opposition. As of 2011, the President of India,
the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Leader of
the Opposition in Lok Sabha (Lower House of the
parliament) are all women. However, women in
India generally are still exposed to numerous
Status In History...
Scholars believe that in ancient India, the women
enjoyed equal status with men in all fields of life.
Works by ancient Indian grammarians such as
Patanjali and Katyayana suggest that women were
educated in the early Vedic period.
Rigvedic verses suggest that the women married at a
mature age and were probably free to select their
However, in about 500 B.C., the status of women began
to decline with the Smritis and with
the Islamic invasion of Babur and the Mughal empire
and later Christianity curtailing women's freedom and
Historical Social Practices Harassing
Condition Of Women During British Raj...
Peary Charan Sarkar, a former student of
Hindu College, Calcutta and a member of
"Young Bengal" set up the first free school
for girls in India in 1847 in Barasat, a suburb
Raja Rammohan Roy's efforts led to the
abolition of the Sati practice
under Governor-General William Cavendish-
Bentinck in 1829.
In 1917, the first women's delegation met
the Secretary of State to demand women's
political rights, supported by the Indian
Modern India And It’s Women...
Women in India now participate in
all activities such as
education,sports, politics, media,
art and culture, service sectors,
science and technology, etc. Indira
Gandhi, who served as Prime
Minister of India for an aggregate
period of fifteen years is the
world's longest serving woman
Constitutional Support To Women...
The Constitution of India guarantees to all
Indian women equality (Article 14), no
discrimination by the State (Article 15(1)),
equality of opportunity (Article 16), equal
pay for equal work (Article 39(d)). In
addition, it allows special provisions to be
made by the State in favour of women and
children (Article 15(3)), renounces
practices derogatory to the dignity of
women (Article 51(A) (e)), and also allows
for provisions to be made by the State for
securing just and humane conditions of
work and for maternity relief. (Article 42).
1947: On 15 August 1947, following independence,
Sarojini Naidu became the governor of the United
Provinces, and in the process became India's first
1951: Prem Mathur of the Deccan Airways becomes the
first Indian women commercial pilot.
1953: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit became the first woman
(and first Indian) president of the United Nations
1959: Anna Chandy becomes the first Indian woman
judge of a High Court.
1963: Sucheta Kriplani became the Chief Minister of
Uttar Pradesh, the first woman to hold that position in
any Indian state.
1966: Captain Durga Banerjee becomes the first Indian woman pilot of
the state airline, Indian Airlines.
1966: Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay wins Ramon Magsaysay award for
1966: Indira Gandhi becomes the first woman Prime Minister of India.
1970: Kamaljit Sandhu becomes the first Indian woman to win a Gold in
the Asian Games.
1972: Kiran Bedi becomes the first female recruit to join the Indian
1979: Mother Teresa wins the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first
Indian female citizen to do so.
1984: On 23 May, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to
climb Mount Everest
1989: Justice M. Fathima Beevi becomes the first woman judge of
the Supreme Court of India
1989: Justice M. Fathima Beevi becomes the first
woman judge of the Supreme Court of India.
1997: Kalpana Chawla becomes the first India-born
woman to go into space.
1992: Priya Jhingan becomes the first lady cadet to join
the Indian Army (later commissioned on 6 March 1993)
1994: Harita Kaur Deol becomes the first Indian woman
pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF), on a solo flight.
2000: Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win
an Olympic medal (bronze medal in the 2000 Summer
Olympics at Sydney)
2002: Lakshmi Sahgal became the first Indian woman to run for
the post of President of India.
2004: Punita Arora became the first woman in the Indian Army
to don the highest rank of Lieutenant General.
2007: Pratibha Patil becomes the first woman President of
2009: Meira Kumar became the first woman Speaker of Lok
Sabha, the lower house in Indian Parliament